HOMESTEAD — Students at Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Homestead Campus are giving back to the community by mentoring migrant children to write books to call their own.

Pages for All Ages is a literacy-based project created in 2012 by Professor Yanely Cordero to promote literacy through reading, psychology, and career-readiness for college students in developmental education.

The project pairs MDC students enrolled in developmental reading classes with elementary children attending the after school program in the Everglades Community Association in Homestead.  The children reside within the community that houses farm workers and their families.

During its first year, the program proved to be successful with Cordero winning the Project Impact Award at MDC.

“I wanted to empower my students by putting them in mentor roles where they could strengthen the skills they were learning while gaining confidence from teaching children,” Cordero said. “It’s a win/win for
both MDC students and the community children.”

That same year, Professor Jessyca Perez approached Professor Cordero at the Service Learning Awards ceremony where Cordero won another honor, the Spirited Award.

“I was very impressed with her passion and efforts to put this program
together on her own,” Perez said.  “Yanely and I are both very passionate about literacy and instantly formed a connection.”

They joined forces and expanded the program from 15 MDC students to 42 students in the following academic year.  Since its inception, the program has served about 300 students.

This initiative is supported by Enfamilia, an agency that provides education programs to help improve and preserve family life for a large population of migrant farm workers and low-income families living in Deep South Dade.  The agency allows the use of its facilities, electricity, resources, and staff at no cost to the college or the project.

Cordero and Perez are both looking to expand the program to juvenile detention centers and nursing homes.  They also plan to bring other faculty from various disciplines on board.

“I envision us working together to expand the program into the community even further for such a great cause,” Perez said.